BRADENTON BEACH – The Bradenton Beach Police Department now has quicker access to the water thanks to the new boat lift installed next to the Bridge Street Pier.
Duncan Seawall, Dock & Boat Lift installed the lift after repositioning and repairing the floating dock that provides access to it.
Representatives of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce helped conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony that served as the lift’s grand opening on Friday afternoon.
A few minutes before the ceremony, Duncan General Manager Steve Porter said, “We’re all done. We had until Wednesday of next week and we’re putting the boat on it today.”
The Bradenton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) had until Wednesday, Sept. 30 to complete the lift installation using a $50,000 West Coast Inland Navigation District grant approved by Manatee County commissioners in 2017.
On Sept. 14, the CRA members authorized Duncan Seawall, Dock & Boat Lift to install a 10,000-pound capacity lift for about $37,813. That day, the CRA members also authorized Duncan to complete the dock repairs and dock repositioning for an additional $11,600 as a separate project after learning the Hecker Construction Company that installed the floating dock in 2019 could not complete that work in time for Duncan to then meet the boat lift installation deadline.
While standing on the floating dock Friday afternoon, CRA member and Mayor John Chappie said, “Public safety is always the number one priority for any municipal government and having a place for our marine patrol officers to store the boat is going to help with rapid response when seconds matter. This will allow our officers to get out there as quickly as possible in emergency situations. Our officers will have more time on the water because they’re not going to have to go down to the boat ramp to launch the boat.”
Chappie praised City Attorney Ricinda Perry and Duncan Seawall, Dock & Boat Lift for completing the time-sensitive projects.
“We had a lot of issues and hurdles to get this done. Ricinda has done a great job pulling all the different threads together and I really appreciate that,” Chappie said.
“Duncan has always been a great partner with the city. We greatly appreciate it and we’re pleased with the results. They also built our pier and we’ve had no issues with it,” Chappie said.
“I’m pleased to provide another tool for our law enforcement officers and we could not have done this without the help of Duncan Seawall and the financial support provided by WCIND with the county commission’s support,” Perry said.
Officer Eric Hill serves as the city’s primary marine patrol officer in addition to his regular policing duties. He piloted the police boat to the boat lift Friday afternoon, accompanied by Officer Devon Straight.
“It’s going to make access to the water much easier. It’s been a long time coming and we no longer have to launch from the Coquina boat ramp and ride the channel up – that can burn a half-hour easily. We can now just drop the boat in the water, handle our patrols and come back. A lot of people are happy to see this and they told me they feel safer,” Hill said.
Lt. John Cosby often accompanies Hill on the patrols of the navigable waters south of the pier that are home to several live-aboard boaters.
“The quick response is going to be good. If there’s an issue we can go out and come right back. On holidays, we have to wait at the boat ramp too and you know what the boat ramps look like on holidays. This is going to make us a lot more efficient. We’re going to send Officer Straight to training and he’ll be our second boat captain,” Cosby said.